IAFE Convention Concludes in Indianapolis; show moves to Salt Lake City in 2023
The 2022 IAFE Convention & Trade Show wrapped in Indianapolis. The event, held Nov. 27-30 at the Indianapolis Convention Center, was considered a success by organizers. "About 2,500 people attended the 2022 IAFE Convention & Trade Show, with delegates coming from 48 states, Canada, and Australia. The turnout was just shy of that of the 2019 Convention. More importantly, the revenue goals set for the event were exceeded," Calico said.
After 3 years in San Antonio, many expressed excitement to be moving to another city to see new sites and make new memories. Indianapolis provided a large offering of restaurants downtown as well as plenty of hotel rooms close to the convention center. Despite the chilly temperatures on the final days, heated covered walkways provided easy, comfortable transportation from convention hotels to the meeting rooms and trade show floor.
Next year, the convention moves to Salt Lake City, Utah for another one year-stint, Nov. 26 - 29.
The trade shows well attended, especially on the first day, and programming was moved to provide free time for attendees to walk the show floor. In addition to well over 300 booths, the Trade Show featured 17 different acts on stages inside the show, as well as an opportunity for exhibitors to participate in a Buyers/Exhibitors networking breakfast. "The 2022 IAFE Trade Show provided a great chance for all aspects of the fair business to unite. Exhibitors reported great attendance to show management over the course of the two-day event. Trade Show booth sales were up 9% over 2021," IAFE Director of Sales Steve Siever said.
In addition to the trade show and educational meetings, there were awards and recognitions for fairs as well as elections for IAFE leadership positions.
Each year, the IAFE conducts contests for fair members, which recognize and reward excellence. A total of 1,726 entries across five divisions in five different contests and 48 categories were entered this year, a significant increase over 2021.
During the convention, Jennifer Giesike, president/CEO of the Washington Area Chamber of Commerce and the manager of the Washington Town and Country Fair, Washington, Mo., was elected 2023 chairman of the IAFE.
Giesike has been with the Washington Chamber for 22 years. She was involved with the fair for many years before becoming manager, showing market animals, exhibiting 4-H items, and serving as a fair assistant.
Giesike received her IAFE Certified Fair Executive (CFE) designation in April 2008 and graduated in the first class of the Institute of Fair Management in December 2009. She has served as the IAFE Zone 5 director, co-chairman of the Young Professionals Initiative, chairman of the 2019 IAFE Convention Program Committee, CFE Committee, the Membership Committee, and the County Fair Committee, and was awarded the first IAFE YP Rising Star Award in December 2009. In 2020, Jennifer completed the IAFE Institute of Fair Management Leadership Graduate Track requirements.
Other Board of Directors elections named at the Convention include:.
First Vice Chairman Jo Reynolds, CFE, Warren County Fair, Indianola, Iowa;
Second Vice Chairman Ken Karns*, CFE, OC Fair & Event Center, Costa Mesa, Calif.;
Treasurer Jaime Navarro, State Fair of Texas, Dallas;
Immediate Past Chairman Jeremy Parsons, CFE, Clay County Fair, Spencer, Iowa;
Past Chairman Eugene Cassidy, CFE, Eastern States Exposition (The Big E), West Springfield, Mass.;
Zone 1 Director Andy Imperati *, Dutchess County Fair, Rhinebeck, N.Y.;
Zone 2 Director Kelly Collins, CFE, State Fair of West Virginia, Lewisburg, WV;
Zone 3 Director L.C. Scramlin*, Oakland County Fair, Davisburg, Mich.;
Zone 4 Director Scott Kozelka, Steele County Free Fair, Owatonna, Minn.;
Zone 5 Director Aaron Owen, CFE, Ozark Empire Fair, Springfield, Mo.;
Zone 6 Director Mitchell Glieber, State Fair of Texas;
Zone 7 Director Brandon Bird*, CFE, Eastern Idaho State Fair, Blackfoot;
Zone 8 Director Geoff Hinds, CFE, Deschutes County Fair & Expo, Redmond, Ore.;
State & Provincial Associations Representative Steve Patterson*, CFE, Indiana Association of Fairs;
Canadian Association of Fairs & Exhibitions Representative Jeff Strickland*, Pacific National Exhibition, Vancouver, British Columbia;
Outside the U.S. & Canada Representative Brad Jenkins*, Melbourne Royal Show, Ascot Vale, Victoria;
Director at Large from Associate Members Sandy Class*, Tavern at the Park, LLC, Apollo Beach, Fla.;
Director at Large from Associate Members Jay Strates, Strates Shows, Orlando, Fla.; and;
President and CEO Marla Calico, CFE.
Moving to a new city provides both opportunities and challenges. There are new places and activities to explore, but also a learning curve to overcome as gathering places change and new customs are learned. The Fair-A-Palooza event at the Indiana State Fairgrounds provided an opportunity for convention guests to be a fair guest for the night, with activities like ice skating and even some amusement rides to enjoy. Those who attended enjoyed the event and feedback was well received. With new hotels, bars and a new convention layout, guests had to find new places to gather, but after a night of exploration, it seemed many were able to connect with friends old and new.
In the end, event organizers were pleased with the results sand looking forward to the new challenges and opportunities another host city will bring.
"The feedback received throughout the convention was extremely positive. Attendees were very outspoken in their comments about the quality of the educational programming, the opportunity to network, and to celebrate achievements," stated Calico.
"We are very grateful to the sponsors and exhibitors for their dedicated participation, and especially so to the attendees who took time away from their families, their fairs and their 'real-life' work to attend the 2022 Convention."
IAFE staff said attendees and exhibitors were already expressing great interest in the 2023 IAFE Convention & Trade Show, Nov. 26-29 in Salt Lake City, Utah.